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Sustainable graphic design

Sustainable graphic design

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Sustainable graphic design is the application of sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 principles to graphic design
Graphic design
Graphic design is a creative process – most often involving a client and a designer and usually completed in conjunction with producers of form – undertaken in order to convey a specific message to a targeted audience...

. It considers the environmental impacts of graphic design products (such as packaging, printed materials, publications, etc.) throughout a life cycle that includes: raw material; transformation; manufacturing; transportation; use; and disposal.

Graphic designers engaged in sustainable practice use techniques, processes, and materials that will help reduce the detrimental environmental, social, and economic impact of their designs, also known as the Triple Bottom Line
Triple bottom line
The triple bottom line captures an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational success: economic, ecological, and social...


When subjecting a design to a sustainability audit, a designer might consider:
  • reducing the amount of materials required for production
  • using paper and materials made with recycled, post-consumer waste
  • printing with low-VOC inks
  • what production methods require the least amount of transport
  • which vendors use renewable energy
  • if the product can fulfill more than one purpose
  • if the end-product is biodegradable or recyclable
  • if the end-product can be replaced by a digital, rather than printed, format
  • just-in-time production to reduce number of units produced and warehoused
  • which vendors sell products certified by third party NGOs

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